Last time I was in Southeast Asia, I heard constant stories from travelers in Chiang Mai or Hanoi about their recent treks with local tribes, through jungles and uneven terrain. It sounded adventurous and a tad exotic. Trekking through the jungle in Asia with locals? Yes, that sounds like me.
Unfortunately, that last trip was whirlwind and planned to the day. There wasn’t much room for random treks for two- or three-days, no matter how interesting they seemed. I never made it further then those northern cities in Thailand and Vietnam, and forgot all about trekking until I arrived in Myanmar.
Myanmar is still a mysterious and constantly changing spot in Southeast Asia. This is what you should know about the country in 2017!
I received confirmation for my Myanmar e-visa, and booked my flights to the country soon after from a sweaty, windowless hotel room in Hong Kong. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I’m going to be honest and say that Myanmar is the most challenging country I’ve traveled to as of yet, but that doesn’t mean that it still wasn’t all kinds of awesome.
Myanmar was a unique destination in a sea of backpacker trails and countries that have been overrun by tourism time and again. Myanmar was still touristy in areas, but it also offered a glimpse at traditional Burmese culture and untouched scenery that I haven’t witnessed in quite awhile.
Taiwan was exactly what I needed after fast-paced Hong Kong. It was also a much needed relief on my budget. Although Taiwan is definitely not the cheapest destination in Asia, it was a hell of a lot cheaper than Hong Kong. I adored the good humored and playful nature of Taiwanese culture, and the friendliness that I came across time and again.
Besides a couple of rogue bus drivers who refused to let us off because they were late for the rest of their route (um, what?), I had very few negative experiences in the country. In fact, Taiwan is right up there with Vietnam as one of my favorite countries in Asia thus far.
It’s that time of the year again. 2016 is already coming to a close, and I’m preparing for a new 12 months of goals, travel, and life. When I look back on 2016, I see a year that was difficult, challenging, and a whole lot of fun too. I based myself in North America this year and had many wonderful adventures starting from the Pacific Northwest.
This was an epic year of travel for me. I traveled to more US states than I thought possible in a year, and, to my glee, I finally added Canada to my destinations. In fact, I visited Canada four separate times throughout the year. I just couldn’t get enough of the Great White North.
I’m writing this on a train back to Taipei. By the time this post is published I will already be in Myanmar, but right now I still have a few more days in Taiwan. As I’m sitting on the train, I can’t help but appreciate the memories I have from this country. Taiwan ended up being a place I loved even more than I thought I would, and I’m truly sad to be leaving so soon.
I spent just over a month in Taiwan and I feel like I barely scratched the surface. I traveled the west coast, made it down to the southern tip, and back up the east coast. I noted the changes in local culture with each new area of the country, but how they also had a few common threads. Taiwan is a place I could see myself living in for awhile if the timing worked out in the future. For now, I’m grateful for what this country has given me.
These are the 38 reasons why life is simply better in Taiwan.
The buses barreled past at an alarming rate, not giving me the usual berth I would find in North America. The smells that wafted up from the grates and alleyways made me equally intrigued and wary. The electricity that I felt every time I stepped out into the humid air was unforgettable. These were my first impressions of Hong Kong.
The smog made us both sick within a few days, we were unable to get out of bed with our pounding heads, coughs, and other ailments that crept up on us. We bounced back soon enough and Hong Kong grew on us in a way that makes you reminisce about a new travel friend who was exciting and a bit of a mystery.
One of my goals on The Atlas Heart is to break down travel misconceptions or judgments about places and ideas. Perhaps it could be that destination that everyone warns you not to visit because of how dangerous it is, or maybe you yourself had preconceived notions that were proven wrong once you arrived to where you were going.
My aim is to present a variety of different opinions and experiences through the eyes of other travelers. It’s important to hear travel stories from all different perspectives in life, I call it seeing the world through a kaleidoscope lens.
Last time I visited Indonesia it was 3 years ago and I was left with mixed feelings. I only went to Bali and came away with a dejected impression about the negative tourism that existed there. Ubud was the place that restored my faith in the small portion of Indonesia I visited. I vowed to come back to Indonesia for a second time around next time I was in Asia to give it a second chance and an open mind.
Well, I’m officially back in Asia and I’m looking forward to traveling to Indonesia in the next few months to dive deeper into Indonesian culture. I want to explore the many other wonderful places I’ve heard about in Indonesia, and to get away from the touristy side that I didn’t like so much in Bali.
Summer can be the most expensive time of the year to travel, but it’s also the most likely time of the year that Americans will use their vacation days. A lot of my fellow Americans have this idea that travel has to cost a lot of money and can only be done every once in awhile since it’s so expensive (or you only have two weeks of vacation every year).
Now, I can’t help you with increasing those vacation days, but what people don’t realize is that travel can be incredibly affordable if you know where to look. Travel doesn’t have to mean resorts and constant indulgences either, the best kind of travel is truly when you’re meeting locals and getting an overview of the local culture.
It’s not news on this blog that I’m moving to Asia in the fall, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still daydream about it on here and continue to look forward to my upcoming digs. As some of you who have been with me for awhile may know, I’m big on festivals. Mainly music festivals, but I’ve grown to appreciate a mix of cultural, local, and party festivals as well as the ones that solely focus on music.
Asia has a ton of great festivals, some cultural and some more party, but I wanted to put together a list of all the ones I’m especially looking forward to. I’m going to try and hit as many of these as possible while I’m in the region.